tek's rating: ½

Cloak & Dagger, on Freeform, Thursdays at 8PM
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Caution: spoilers!

When this started airing in summer of 2018, I couldn't watch it, since I don't get Freeform. But I did see the first season in winter of 2019, on Hulu. And I thought it was pretty good. It's based on characters from comic books that I haven't read, and it is set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though so far its ties to that are minimal, at best. Also so far, I'd say it barely qualifies as a "superhero" show, even though the title characters (who don't actually go by those names) do have rather unique super powers; it's really more of a drama. Oh, and I also wanted to mention that despite a certain promotional image, Tandy ("Dagger") is not actually an albino. (Nor, for that matter, a zombie.)

Season 1
So... the show is set in New Orleans. The two main characters are Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen. The show begins with flashbacks to them when they were nine years old, on a day when they each suffered through traumatic events. Tyrone witnessed his older brother, Billy, being shot and killed by a cop (whose name we later learn is Connors). Meanwhile, Tandy's father, Nathan, worked for Roxxon Corporation, as a scientist on an oil rig. One night he was driving Tandy home from ballet class, and the rig exploded, starting a chain of events that led to their car going off the road and into the water. Nathan drowned, but Tandy was saved by Tyrone, who had also ended up in the water, after Billy was shot. Somehow, Tandy and Tyrone both developed powers, though after that night, they wouldn't manifest again until eight years later, the next time Tandy and Tyrone came in contact with each other.

In the present, Tyrone lives with his parents, Otis and Adina (Gloria Reuben), and attends St. Sebastian's Preparatory School. He has a friend named Evita Fusilier, who eventually becomes a love interest. We also occasionally see Tyrone interact with a priest and teacher at the school, Father Francis Delgado. But he has never gotten over Billy's death. Meanwhile, Tandy had run away from home at some point, and is now working as a thief and living in an abandoned church called St. Theresa's. She has a partner in crime/boyfriend named Liam Walsh. (He makes a few appearances throughout the season, but eventually leaves Tandy.) We also occasionally see Tandy interact with her mother, Melissa. Anyway, once Tyrone and Tandy run into each other at a party, their respective powers are activated. Tandy can create daggers of light, and Tyrone can teleport himself, generally with the aid of a cloak (or something else that covers him). However, it will take awhile before either of them learn to control their powers. They also eventually learn that Tandy can see into people's hopes, and Tyrone sees into people's fears. Either way, we see those powers represented as visions they can appear in and interact with. It also takes awhile before Tandy and Tyrone start working together toward common goals. Most of the time, they're each off doing their own thing, and in the early episodes they don't particularly care for each other.

There are a few major plot threads running throughout the season. One is that Roxxon had blamed Nathan Bowen for the oil rig explosion, which wasn't actually his fault. This left Melissa and Tandy in poverty, and helped fuel Melissa's various addictions. But now, Tandy spends the season trying to prove her father's innocence. Also, Tyrone spends the season trying to expose Connors as having murdered Billy. There's also a police detective named Brigid O'Reilly who has recently moved to New Orleans from New York. She eventually begins helping Tandy and Tyrone, and tries to take down Connors, as well. But it's very dangerous, since most of the cops in their precinct seem to be working for Connors. And her only real ally is a cop named Fuchs, who winds up getting murdered for helping O'Reilly. Meanwhile, Evita's aunt, Chantelle, is a voodoo priestess. Throughout the season, she tells Evita about a history of "divine pairings." Throughout the city's history, there have occasionally been major crises that were each somehow resolved by two special people. And Chantelle believes Tyrone is one member of the current divine pairing; eventually Evita discovers that Tandy is the other one. (It doesn't seem to me like any of the previous divine pairings had super powers, though.) Anyway... part of Tandy's attempts to find proof of Roxxon's guilt involves going to work with an environmental engineer named Mina Hess, whose father, Ivan, had been an engineer on the oil rig. He survived the explosion, but has been in a coma ever since then. However, Tyrone and Tandy use their powers and manage to wake him up. And at the end of the season, Roxxon causes a major crisis, which Tyrone and Tandy must stop. They succeed in that, but not before Tyrone is accused of Fuchs's murder, so he must go into hiding. He moves into St. Theresa's church, while Tandy moves back in with her mother. Meanwhile... very odd things happen to Connors and O'Reilly, the nature of which I don't want to spoil, until next season.

Well, I've left out lots of details and various characters. But that's pretty much all the really important stuff. It's definitely a good show, with good characters, and everything.

Season 2
Where to begin? I suppose I should say that last season, Tandy learned that her father had abused her mother, and that's something she needs to come to terms with, this season. Tandy and Melissa attend a support group together, which is led by a woman named Avandalia "Lia" Dewan. Another leader of the group and the local community is a former jazz musician named Andre Deschaine. Tandy also searches for missing girls who have apparently been kidnapped, a case that Brigid also works on. However, Tandy eventually discovers that there are now two Brigids, one of whom is violent when it suits her; she doesn't care about rules or laws, only her own idea of justice. (The word "mayhem" is used several times in connection with her, but I never got the impression anyone called her that as a name. However, I gather that is what the character is called in the comic books.) I think she's also got super strength, but probably not too super. Anyway, they eventually learn that Andre is the one who leads the group of kidnappers, and Lia works with him. The girls have been forced into sex work. So, Tandy and Brigid and Tyrone all want to put a stop to that.

Meanwhile, I also need to say that last season, Connors had disappeared into some sort of "dark dimension," which is accessed through a cloud of black smoke that sometimes appears around Tyrone. It's pretty weird. And this season, with Evita's help, he learns to activate this smoky portal to let Tandy (and sometimes others) into the dark dimension, where there's also a version of Andre, who has a record store, filled with records that sort of play people's life experiences, or something. And he uses them to gain some kind of power, I guess. Did I mention it's really weird? We also eventually learn that he has the potential to become some sort of god, called a Loa. And... at one point he kills Chantelle, which means Evita will have to take over as voodoo priestess... which means she also has to marry a Loa named Samedi. Anyway... they eventually get Connors out of the dark dimension. And later Ty brings him to his mother, to decide what to do with him. It's complicated, because she wants to kill him for having killed Billy, but at the same time, he's the only one who could prove Tyrone didn't kill Fuchs. And... Tyrone and Tandy eventually have to battle against Andre after he becomes a Loa, in the dark dimension. So that's pretty intense.

I'm sure I'm getting things out of order, and a lot of other stuff happens, some of which you probably don't need to know anyway, and some of which I just don't want to spoil. But I will say that the two Brigids are eventually recombined into one person, but I think both versions of her still have their own minds... and they reach a sort of compromise, with the "good" Brigid letting "Mayhem" take over, as long as she abides by certain rules. I guess. And Tyrone is finally cleared of murder charges. He and Tandy leave town together. And I dunno what else to say. Except, of course, I hope there will be a third season.


superheroes index
Marvel Cinematic Universe
Phase One: Iron Man * The Incredible Hulk * Iron Man 2 * Thor * Captain America * The Avengers
Phase Two: Iron Man 3 * Thor: The Dark World * Captain America: The Winter Soldier * Guardians of the Galaxy * Avengers: Age of Ultron * Ant-Man
Phase Three: Captain America: Civil War * Doctor Strange * Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 * Spider-Man: Homecoming * Thor: Ragnarok *
Black Panther * Avengers: Infinity War * Ant-Man and the Wasp * Captain Marvel * Avengers: Endgame * Spider-Man: Far from Home
TV: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. * Agent Carter * Inhumans * Cloak & Dagger
streaming: Daredevil * Jessica Jones * Luke Cage * Iron Fist * The Defenders * The Punisher * Runaways